How can HR stop bullying in the workplace?

Bullying is a fact of life at the workplace. Despite umpteen laws that purport to protect employees from bullying and harassment; there is a great difficulty in nailing a person down for a specific act such as bullying, which is difficult to prove and even more difficult to act upon legally.

What is workplace bullying?

Bullying is the practice of behaving oddly with a particular employee/s. Although a single definition is difficult to arrive at; bullying can be said to have happened “…when someone tries to intimidate another worker, often in front of colleagues. It is usually, though not always, done to someone in a less senior position.”(Directgov)

Bullying can also happen subtly and quite covertly. It is not something an employee does openly and brazenly.Bullying at the workplace typically includes needling and irritating an employee indirectly with racial slurs or about one’s physical appearance. Bullying can also be about denying a person anything that is due to her, or could be humiliating her in the workplace to lower her self-esteem.

What can HR do?

HR is caught in a difficult situation when a complaint of bullying comes to it. If the bully enjoys a superior position in the organization, which is usually the case, the difficulty is compounded, because it is not easy to pin a senior employee for bullying. It can politely and perhaps indirectly remind the bullying employee of the rules about bullying. If that does not work, and if the bully continues his ways; it will become necessary for HR to act by building a case against him. This is time consuming and tedious, but has to be done in the interest of the organization.

Reference:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/ResolvingWorkplaceDisputes/DiscriminationAtWork/DG_10026670
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